Will Kraus PictureMillions of Missouri families will celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering together, sharing love and laughter, telling stories and rehashing memories. As we sit down to eat, we will say a prayer of thanks to Almighty God for all He has given us. On Thanksgiving Day, our prayers may be longer than usual.

We are truly blessed to have been born in, or to have come to, this nation of freedoms. While browsing the Internet the other day, I saw a picture of five presidents standing together in the Oval Office. In what other countries do leaders, even after leaving office, stand with those whom they may not always agree, yet whom they respect as people and as decent Americans? As an elected official, I may not always see things the same way as someone across the aisle, but I strive to always see the person across the aisle as another loyal Missourian, not an enemy. I encourage you to be thankful for our system of government each day.

Most of us are blessed to have good, loving families. Each family, no matter how it is comprised, has the capacity to support and lift up its members. In times of pain or sorrow, the encouragement of a family member can help heal. Some of you may have lost a family member this year. If so, you know how hard it is to say goodbye.  Be thankful, every day, for your family.

The first national proclamation of Thanksgiving Day was made by President Abraham Lincoln — in a time of war. While many states already celebrated such a holiday, Lincoln knew that in the worst of times, our nation needed a unified day to remember all our gifts and blessings. Some days our lives are just so busy, with kids running in many directions, and work or family issues raising parents’ stress levels. Even on the worst of your days, I hope you can stop and give thanks for what is good.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

 Please feel free to contact the 8th Senatorial District’s Capitol office with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 573-751-1464, or e-mail at will.kraus@senate.mo.gov.